Sustainability: Companies will continue to face increasing pressures with the environment and social responsibilities. For example, as Generation Z continues to come into the workforce they’re going to look for more social conscious companies to engage with. Companies will need to show and prove how they care about the environment.

As a part of our interview series called “How Employers and Employees are Reworking Work Together,” we had the pleasure to interview Marla J. Albertie M. Ed.

Marla J. Albertie is the owner and founder of the TruthSpeaksGroup LLC, a multimedia company that creates strategies and solutions for work-life integration/harmony (WLI/H). She is also the founder of I/O for Teens Inc., (a skill, confidence, and career building organization teaching teens how to achieve their dreams based on a science of human behavior.) Marla is a certified professional career, executive, and life coach, trainer APTD (Associate Professional in Training and Development), Certified Chief Happiness Officer, Certified Positive Psychology Practitioner, Director of HR, Instructor of Psychology, Amazon Best Selling author, and has over 25 years of business, coaching, and training experience. Marla holds a Master of Education in Adult Education, Bachelor of Applied Science in Supervision and Management, and an Associates of Science in Financial Services. She is currently pursuing her PhD in Industrial and Organizational Psychology.

Thank you for making time to visit with us about the topic of our time. Our readers would like to get to know you a bit better. Can you please tell us about one or two life experiences that most shaped who you are today.

One life experience that has shaped who I am today is getting divorced for the second time. I literally had to start my life over, meaning recover from bankruptcy, sell my house, move, and start my PhD program. I proved to myself if I can do it I can help other women do it as well which is exactly what I am doing in my coaching business.

Let’s zoom out. What do you predict will be the same about work, the workforce, and the workplace 10–15 years from now? What do you predict will be different?

This is such a great question. Here is what I believe will be the same and not change:

  1. The need for collaboration and communication among workers and leadership. Nothing happens outside of a conversation.
  2. The need for ongoing upskilling and reskilling; education is not going anywhere. People will need to continue their hunger for learning.
  3. The value of humans in general, robots will not replace every human being on the planet. Who will build the robots?

Here is what I believe will change:

  1. The workforce will be more diverse. According to CBS News the minority will be the majority by 2030.
  2. Remote work will be more prevalent, and organizations will have to adapt to the worker’s needs.
  3. AI and automation will take precedence in some roles and workers should prepare for this now.

What advice would you offer to employers who want to future-proof their organizations?

I have much to say about this one, but I will keep it brief.

  1. Embrace innovation: Encourage employees to have a creative mindset and explore with experimentation. Be open to new technologies in the way of doing things.
  2. Continue to invest in employee training and development: Provide continuous ongoing opportunities for employees to upskill and re skill.
  3. Prioritize diversity, equity, and inclusion: Infuse DE and I in everything you do. Look for ways to diversify, look for everything to be equitable, and make sure you’re including the right elements in everything you do.
  4. Foster a positive work environment: This comes from the leadership. Everything rises and falls on leadership.
  5. Stay on top of the change: What’s happening in your industry? What are the emerging trends and technologies that will impact your organization or industry? Companies need to stay on top of this.

What do you predict will be the biggest gaps between what employers are willing to offer and what employees expect as we move forward? And what strategies would you offer about how to reconcile those gaps?

Work-life harmony/integration, compensation and benefits, and career development will continue to be gaps. The way to rectify these gaps is to always be open with your communication to your employees. Treat them as adults and trust them. Explain the “why” behind decisions being made, do not simply say “this is the way it is.” Always remain flexible in your approaches and be open to the opinions of your staff.

We simultaneously joined a global experiment together last year called “Working From Home.” How will this experience influence the future of work?

Remote work has been here for years; therefore, it is not new, and it is here to stay. For example, remote work has already allowed for increased flexibility, reduced overhead costs, expanded talent pool reaching employees who may not have ever had a chance at a certain job, and an increased use of technology. For these reasons alone, and many others remote work is here to stay.

We’ve all read the headlines about how the pandemic reshaped the workforce. What societal changes do you foresee as necessary to support a future of work that works for everyone?

I believe it is necessary to support diversity equity and inclusion. DE and I should not be a trend, this is something that should be infused, in everything we do as employers as mentioned earlier.

What is your greatest source of optimism about the future of work? Change being a constant is my greatest source of optimism for the future; if we’re not changing, we’re not growing.

Our collective mental health and wellbeing are now considered collateral as we consider the future of work. What innovative strategies do you see employers offering to help improve and optimize their employee’s mental health and wellbeing?

Organizations are really getting creative with well-being and mental health solutions. For example, Citibank and Bank of America offer sabbaticals. We have also heard much buzz about the four-day work week, many companies have already adopted this before the buzz began. Another hot trend is unlimited PTO. These creative strategies have helped to reduce stress and burn out amongst employees.

It seems like there’s a new headline every day. ‘The Great Resignation’. ‘The Great Reconfiguration’. And now the ‘Great Reevaluation’. What are the most important messages leaders need to hear from these headlines? How do company cultures need to evolve?

Leaders need to pay attention. The main message from all three of these are employees are now awakened to the fact that they truly have options and that they don’t have to be “stuck” in a nine to five. It is all about what’s in it for me, gone are the days of the loyal 40-year employee, I believe Generation Z has already shown us this.

Let’s get more specific. What are your “Top 5 Trends To Track In the Future of Work?”

  1. Remote work: The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated our mindsets towards remote work and this trend is not going anywhere. As I mentioned earlier, remote work has been around for years and it’s here to stay. For example, remote work allows for people to create better work life harmony/integration and decreases stress levels and people have picked up on this, therefore employees are going to look for more remote options.
  2. AI: Advances in AI are expected to transform the way we work. As more tasks are being automated this will require employees to upskill and reskill themselves. For example, companies should provide the necessary training for their employees to be up to date with the current trends of their industry such as attending conferences or workshops.
  3. The Gig Economy/Side Hustles: The Gig economy is here to stay as well, no more having a simple part-time job just to have one. People will have a full-time job and two or three part-time jobs. For example, Uber and Lyft has made this possible. People can become an online content creator in a matter of minutes, look at YouTube and Instagram for examples.
  4. Sustainability: Companies will continue to face increasing pressures with the environment and social responsibilities. For example, as Generation Z continues to come into the workforce they’re going to look for more social conscious companies to engage with. Companies will need to show and prove how they care about the environment.
  5. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: As mentioned before DE and I must be the foundation of every decision we make. A company should always ask themselves these three questions: is what we’re doing equitable, is what we’re doing have diversity of thought, and who are we including and excluding?

I keep quotes on my desk and on scraps of paper to stay inspired. What’s your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? And how has this quote shaped your perspective?

With myself being a coach, I have always had a coach, and I remember my coach told me one “whatever you believe you are 100% correct, no one is going to prove you wrong”. That really stuck with me and allowed me to think about what I believe is true vs false in the world.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He, she, or they might just see this if we tag them.

This one is a hard one because I admire so many people, however I would love to sit down and talk to Thasunda Brown Duckett the CEO of TIAA Bank. I watched her career grow when I worked at JP Morgan Chase. I am so proud of her accomplishments.

Our readers often like to continue the conversation with our featured interviewees. How can they best connect with you and stay current on what you’re discovering?

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Thank you for sharing your insights and predictions. We appreciate the gift of your time and wish you continued success and good health.